LS Swap Sleeper Survivor! 1972 Chevrolet Nova

At first glance, this 1972 Chevrolet Nova from Frisco, Texas looks like a nice survivor. In fact, if you saw it at a car show, you might not give it a second look. Even with the hood open, you might think “Hmm, that’s a clean 327.” But if you did look closely, you might notice the large-diameter wheels and performance rubber along with the Holley intake and EFI. “Those valve covers look weird too?” you might say to yourself. The car can be found here on eBay with a current bid over $18,000, but the reserve hasn’t been met yet. The seller doesn’t have a buy-it-now price, but they say they have the receipts from the build, which probably means it was fairly expensive. Let’s shed a little light on this awesome sleeper…Take a look!

As mentioned before, this isn’t your typical 327 V8. It is, in fact, a 5.3-liter aluminum LS engine from 2004. The “valve covers” are technically “coil pack covers” and mimic the look of a classic V8. Other details include the following: all gaskets/seals replaced, Texas Speed 224 Camshaft with matching top-end components, high volume oil pump, new timing chain, and Holley oil pan. Fuel is delivered through Holley fuel rails and intake. New starter, alternator, power steering pump, and water pump are on board. The exhaust is expelled through Hooker headers and dual 3″ Magnaflow stainless mufflers. The engine dyno’d at 324 horsepower at the rear wheels, which isn’t too bad!

The seller describes the interior as “spotless with OG rubber mat and door panels.” It does have new seat covers, but they look very original. This adds greatly to the sleeper vibe. No roll cage, racing seats, 5-point belts, or performance steering wheel to give someone a clue this is anything but a stock Nova.

If you’re thinking this is just another LS-swap into an old factory car, think again. The suspension has been done as well. It features full 3″ lowered suspension components from Hotchkis dampened by tuned Fox shocks. Hotchkis also supplied sub-frame connectors. The rear end is a 10-bolt with an Eaton Posi unit with 3.73 gears. The 17″ billet aluminum custom wheels are wrapped in Falken performance rubber including 275mm wide meats out back. So, what do you think of this car? Is there anything you would do differently if you were building a sleeper?

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  1. JOHN Member

    Cool conversion, but I would have to change the wheels… with the small caps, they just stick out way too far for me, minor thing!

  2. Steve R

    Very nice car with a well executed swap. It will be interesting to see how high the bidding goes and whether or not it meets reserve.

    Steve R

  3. Stangalang

    I am honestly a Ford man..but this is one badazz nova!!😍👍I LOVE the old 327 valve covers as coil pack covers. Tastefully updated and updated correct hopefully it goes to someone who will drive it

  4. Billy1

    Loving the bench seat and dog dish wheels. Just needs a T56 and it’s done.

  5. Tom c

    Well done , this is how to build a nova , I hope he gets his asking price.

  6. Robert Sash

    Meanwhile, a new Camaro with a stock V6 has 335hp.

    • Bob S

      And that 2020 V6 Camaro will be an absolute hit at the local cars and coffee!

      • Bob S

        Nobody will even look at that Nova parked next to that Camaro

      • Rudy C

        Don’t know where you attend cars and coffee but where I do nobody would give a damn about the ‘new’ Camaro and all be ogly eyed over the Nova!

      • Bob S

        That was my point Rudy! Keep scrolling down.

    • Motoman

      Not at the wheels.. this engine is prob over 400 crank hp and a stock v6 camaro makes around 260 at the wheels. Ill take the Nova any day.

    • Tom Member

      Robert, just one question.

      What ?!!?

      • Skid

        Is Robert Sash and Bob S the same guy??? I’m thinking he/they/them were being sarcastic hopefully???

      • Bob S

        No Skid, we are not the same. Yes, I was being sarcastic to Robert’s comment, how do you compare the two? I don’t come to B/F to look at 2020 Camaros, even though I did just attend the Chicago auto show the other day. I have been going since 75!

    • cmarv

      A 150 shot will put it @ 450 RWHP . The cool factor is off the scale . I have a Hellcat and some others , my 70 Buick GS gets more attention than the Fiat .

    • JoeNYWF64

      But only 284 pound-feet of torque at a high 5300 rpm.
      I’d rather buy an 500 lb lighter beater roadworthy old nova or 1st gen camaro that has a bigger trunk & useful back seat & put this in …
      No fat wallets, complicated fuel injection, 8 coil packs,computers, etc. need apply.

  7. FordGuy1972

    Here’s a car I really like, it’s brings back memories of my ’70 Nova SS. I like the car overall, the sleeper look is just about perfect. I can’t say I like the black wheels, though; I think they’d look better body color or maybe go with something chrome. The 327 is a nice touch and 3:73 gears should suit it well. Looks like it won’t be cheap but it’s a turn-key classic with everything going for it.

  8. Howard A Member

    My grandpa Sam’s ’72 Nova, minus the mill, of course. In the fall of 1971, my grandfather bought a new ’72 Nova exactly like this, same green, 350, 2 barrel, automatic, small hubcaps, rubber mat, and a clock. My grandmother insisted on a clock with every car. I had just gotten my license, and if grandpa knew what I did to his beloved Nova, I’d have been in hot water. Good thing it was a Chevy and took the abuse. It was a fun car.

  9. Weasel

    Sweet ride but please take that dealer installed side moulding off.

    • Steve R

      It’s likeky factory installed.

      Steve R

      • Weasel

        Let me rephrase then: Take that factory side moulding off, as it looks like something from a JC Whitney catalog.

        Is that better?

        It’s a stripper model so I find it odd that someone would “tick the box” for factory side molding when this vehicle seems to have an extremely limited amount of other factory features.

      • Steve R

        That’s better.

        The only problem with that idea is that the molding is riveted to the body, once removed, the holes will need to be filled and the sides will need to be painted.

        I have an original paint 70 Nova, with side molding, it’s a stripper, 6 cylinder, rubber fooor mats, manual steering and brakes, radio delete. The only option it has is low washer fluid warning. I don’t think the side molding is an extra cost option.

        Steve R

  10. Troy s

    Great build, modern engine dressed up like an old school 327 makes it a daily driver on today’s fuel. It’s all about fun and enjoyment, right?
    The Nova in general doesn’t necessarily make a sleeper anymore, use a g-body or even less conspicuous car, something from the late seventies -eighties.
    Nice ride.

  11. txchief

    I think all 5.3 blocks are cast iron…

    • Steve R


      Steve R

  12. Rob

    That’s a shame. I saw that car on Power Tour a few years ago. It is (was) a very clean super low mile survivor car with a six-cylinder. The lower rocker trim is indeed original to the car.

  13. OKCPhil

    I generally like the clean look and the way is sits and the engine but……damn that interior color is ugly. I had a ’79 Camaro with the same exterior and interior color and I can smell the vinyl when I look at it. Engine is beautiful.
    Who ever built this did an awesome job but I’m just not a green on green guy. A dark grey with black or red interior would be perfect for me.
    Very Rusty versions of the Nova were a high school cheap car back in 84. Always solid vehicles until the New Jersey road salt killed them.

  14. Comet

    Beautiul car. I LOVE Nova’s! There, I said it.

  15. 38ChevyCoupeGuy

    Anything I’d do different you ask? Personally I would have black interior, but other than that,they are just like this one when built,but let’s not forget square box of tissues and the Bible in grandma’s crocheted cover in the rear window,and the her quilt over the back of rear seat😁

  16. Brian K.

    I really like this. Under the hood, it has a nice mix of new and old blended together while retaining a stock look. The seller has nice taste. Having that fuel injection fire right up on a Sunday morning drive is nice to have. If this was mine I would try to squeeze out a few more mpg and make it a smooth driver.

  17. JC

    This car has been listed multiple times on ebay within the past year or two. If I remember correctly (questionable) it was bid up to over 21K during one auction but didn’t sell for some reason. I think the seller wants too much. Of course, I’m sure it’d be difficult to build one for less.

  18. Tort Member

    Very nicely done Nova. As John posted earlier I would have to do something with the wheels. I do like dog dish caps but with the wider wheels it makes them look out of place.

    • JOHN Member

      They are custom aluminum wheels, but the design, with the wheel centers bulging way out, just doesn’t work. Adding the caps makes it look like custom wheels designed for a Toronado or Eldorado. But as I mentioned earlier, the car is way cool.

  19. Camaro guy

    My thoughts exactly the dog dish caps are cool but the wheels have no offset you’re right they look like FWD wheels otherwise a very 😎 ride

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